Gates to look back, ahead on tools in his last Microsoft keynote

On June 3, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates will bid techies goodbye with his last public tradeshow keynote at the company's TechEd Developers Conference in Orlando on June 3.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates will continue his long goodbye on June 3 with his last public tradeshow keynote at the company's TechEd Developers Conference in Orlando.

(Gates will no longer be engaged in day-to-day responsibilities at Microsoft as of July 1, so that he can work more intensively with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.)

At TechEd, Gates is set to look back at the company's past 33 years' worth of technology aimed at developers -- as well as to look ahead at how Microsoft will provide programmers with some of the new tools Microsoft has coming for cloud computing, modeling and natural-language programming, officials said.

Among the new technologies Gates & Co. are set to show off -- or at least discuss -- at the TechEd keynote kick-off:

* Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2. The next public test release of Microsoft's next-gen browser is going to be ready in August, company officials will announce today. Recently, Microsoft officials said to expect more fully-standards-compliant IE 8 Beta 2 in the third calendar quarter of 2008, and cautioned Web site owners that their sites might not display properly unless the use a Microsoft-provided meta-tag. Microsoft still has not provided an official date as to when it expects to ship the final version of IE 8.

* Silverlight 2.0 Beta 2. Microsoft is making available for immediate download by the end of this week Beta 2 of its technology designed to compete with Adobe Flash. New in Beta 2, according to the Softies, are updates to Deep Zoom and animation; networking and data-handling improvements; Windows Presentation Foundation compatibility; and improvements in error handling and reporting. With Beta 2, Microsoft is making Silverlight 2 available via a Go Live license, so that companies may use the code in production if they so desire. Microsoft says it will be Beta 2 of Silverlight that will be what NBC uses to broadcast the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The final Silverlight 2.0 release is due later this summer.

* Another new Community Technology Preview (CTP) of the Microsoft Sync Framework, one of Microsoft's synchronization platforms for collaboration and offline app access. (The recently announced Live Mesh is another of Microsoft's collaboration/synchronization platforms). The latest CTP, due to ship in the third quarter of 2008, will support Windows Mobile and adds full support for the FeedSync protocol, which also is supported in Live Mesh.

* A first CTP of "Velocity," which Microsoft describes as a "distributed in-memory application cache platform" aimed to streamline development of high-performance .Net apps that require "frequent access to disparate data sources," according to the Softies. By moving data out of the data store into a middle-tier, distributed cache that works on a cluster of nodes, Microsoft is promising it will provide increased app performance and scale. Microsoft is planning to integrate Velocity into a future version of the .Net Framework (but wouldn't say when).

* An update to the CTP of Parallel Extensions to the .NET Framework that Microsoft made available in November 2007. Parallel Extensions are designed to make it easier to develop concurrent apps written with any .Net language.

Gates also is expected to mention "Oslo," its SOA/unified modeling platform, during the his keynote at TechEd. Microsoft execs are not going to show off the still-officially-unannounced "D" declarative modeling language that will be a key piece of Oslo, but they will acknowledge the existence of this language at this week's show.

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